Yesterday I was listing to a segment on RN radio about super recognisers. Super recognisers are people who have the ability to remember a face after years of meeting the person. They are now used in law enforcement agencies to recognise faces of people caught doing criminal activity on CCTV footage. CCTV footage can be blurry and difficult to decipher, but not for a super recogniser. A super recogniser will firstly identify the face, then remember who it belongs to, to identify the person. To confirm if the first step is accurate, the information will then go to another super recogniser who will again identify the face on the CCTV footage. The information will then be used as a lead for police officers to investigate.
Super recognisers were identified after Harvard University called for people who had prosopagnosia (people who have difficulty recognising familiar faces), however received inquiries about people who had an unusual ability to remember a face after years of meeting the person. They are now being used in identifying people in CCTV footage that would otherwise be difficult to recognise.
People who have prosopagnosia will identify a person from their clothes, as apposed to the face. For example, a person who has prosopagnosia can know a person well, but if that person is wearing the same clothing (i.e., same suit) as another person next to her friend or family she knows well, the person with prosopagnosia will have difficulty knowing which is her friend or family because she won't be able to discern from their faces.
Here is the article and audio from RN http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rnafternoons/super-recogniser/6744260
Here is a link to a test you can do to find out if you are a super recogniser, have prosopagnosia or normal when recognising faces
When cognitive decline is a result of Huntington's Disease then the diagnosis of Major or Mild Neurocognitive Disorder Due to Huntington's Disease is provided. For the diagnosis to be provided, Huntington's Disease or risk for Huntington's disease based on family history or genetic testing needs to occur before the cognitive decline. Also the criteria for major or mild neurocognitive disorder needs to be met, which a gradual and insidious progression. Lastly the neurocognitive disorder is not better explained by another medical condition.
Major neurocognitive disorder includes a significant decline from a previous level of performance in either complex attention, executive function, learning and memory, language, perceptual-motor, or social cognitive based on concern of a person who knows the informant or the clinical; and the impairment is documented by a standardised neuropsychological test or another quantified clinical assessment. Lastly the cognitive deficit is not better explained by another medical condition. On the other hand, mild neurocognitive disorder is when the person has a modest cognitive decline from a previous level of performance and the deficits does not interfere with the ability to be independent but needs greater effort or compensatory strategies are needed to cope.
Huntington's disease is a progressive genetic disorder and diagnosed from the ages of late 30s to early 40s. The person with Huntington's disease will usually have difficulty with memory retrieval, executive funcitoning and judgement early on. The person will have severy memory deficits as the disease progresses. Sypmtoms also include depression, irritability, anxiety and insidious changes in personality.
As Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder, a person over the age of 18 can have a test to identify if they have the gene, however this is not advised as he or she may become anxious by thinking they will end up with the disorder. There is a 50% change of a person with the gene to end up with the disorder.
Amereican Psychiatric Association. (2013). Neurocognitive disorders. In Diagnostic and Statisical Manual of Mental Disoders DSM-5 (pp. 591-643). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
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